Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, told Parliament today that the UK government will formally adopt plans to cut its carbon dioxide pollution some 50% by 2023-2027 compared to 1990 levels.
The AP reports, “The goal is part of longer-term legal commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60 percent by 2030, and 80 percent by 2050.”
The NY Times notes this is one of “the world’s most ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions “” a striking example of a government committing to big environmental initiatives while also pursuing austerity measures.” Striking, perhaps, but two years ago Nobelist Paul Krugman said that climate action “now might actually help the economy recover from its current slump” by giving “businesses a reason to invest in new equipment and facilities.”
Here’s some background on the decision from the BBC:
[Huhne] reportedly won a battle with Lib Dem colleague Vince Cable over the targets amid fears they will hurt the economy.But they will include an “opt-out” if EU competitors fail on similar aims.
The devil is in the details, as always.
The 2027 targets follow recommendations from the government’s official advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change….
The 2027 target … forms part of reaching a longer-term aim of a 60% reduction by 2030.
The committee’s chief executive, David Kennedy, said he was “delighted” the government had accepted its recommendations and that it would “ensure that we make the right investment choices, maximising long-term growth and reducing our reliance on imported fossil fuels”.
A leaked letter last week exposed a row between Mr Huhne and Business Secretary Vince Cable over the proposed targets.
Prime Minister David Cameron was reported to have intervened on the side of Mr Huhne after Mr Cable reportedly complained that the “too aggressive” targets would “burden” the UK economy….
Greenpeace has described the agreement as “rare victory for the green growth agenda” in the face of what it said was “vehement” opposition from the Treasury and the Department of Business.
The NYT reports that this goal is “far deeper than the European Union’s goal of cutting emissions 20 percent by 2020, and it would mean that Britain would make faster emissions cuts than other similar size countries, including Germany. The goal could require households to spend on new energy-saving devices for the home. It could also revive stalled government support for large projects, like those that capture power from tides and that bury carbon dioxide emissions.”
The paper adds, PM David Cameron has pledged that his government would be the “greenest ever.”